The First Step Toward a Compelling Reason for Leading
A leader without purpose aimlessly jostles on well-worn paths.
A leader with purpose climbs through the fog.
Purpose pulls leaders into the future with courage and vitality.
- Light in the eyes.
- Fuel in the tank.
- Fire to the imagination.
- Direction to the feet.
- Grit in the heart.
The first step toward a reason for leading:
Focus on ‘do want’ more than ‘don’t want’.
Ask people what they want; they tell you what they don’t like.
Politicians use don’t want and don’t like to whip constituents into froth.
You never create beauty with won’t and don’t.
Yes, ‘not doing’ is part of meaningful leadership. But if you have the gift of ‘don’t want and don’t like’, it’s time to reflect on DO WANT.
Wisdom knows how to tear down AND build. Incompetence can only destroy, but skill builds up.
Look for ‘do wants’ behind ‘don’t wants’.
The deception of fools is the belief that ‘don’t want’ and ‘don’t like’ is meaningful contribution.
#1. List your top five don’t wants or don’t likes. (Make a longer list if five is too short.)
#2. Think beyond yourself. What don’t you want for your family, team, organization, even the world?
#3. Move from DON’T to Do. How might you distill your ‘don’t wants’ into a ‘do want’ – a compelling contribution?
#4. Design actionable strategies to move toward what you DO WANT. Whatever you design, make it actionable today.
If you have the gift of ‘don’t want’, you’re miserable. Even worse, you drag people into misery.
The seduction of ‘don’t want’ and ‘don’t like’ is self-affirmation.
You feel powerful when you express don’t wants. Sometimes you are. But the real question follows. What do you want?
What steps might help leaders discover a compelling reason for leading?
What do you want today?
8 Principles of Purpose-Driven Leadership (Success)
Helping Your Team Feel the Purpose in Their Work (HBR)
Finding Your Leadership Purpose (Perspectives)
Most of the time, unless you’re at the very top, what you want doesn’t matter. Like you were told when you were a kid “I want don’t get!”
Thanks Mitch. It seems hard to believe that leaders actually believe the wants/desires of people don’t matter. But we can become so fixed with the things we want that the things others want don’t matter.
So true Dan! The vision of ‘what this could/should be’ is ultimately so much more powerful than ‘let me tell you how bad this is.’. Politics, work, culture right now all seem focused on the later, with a lot of finger-pointing and loud voices saying how awful things are. I’m longing for the discourse on how we can work to achieve something that I’m inspired to give my all to accomplish. Leaders show the vision.
Thanks Mary Ellen. Sadly negative conversations create more heat than positive conversations. It seems that heat is what everyone is after.
I’m with you. Lets think about what we want before we start yelling about things we don’t want.
Purpose is: Light in the eyes. Fuel in the tank. Fire to the imagination. Direction to the feet.
Grit in the heart. So my question is not so much about Leaders needing these attributes but why does not every worker have all these instilled within them. I’m convinced by observation and my own actions that it all goes back to how one was raised, the influence of one’s family and most notably parents. The Light, the fuel, the fire, the direction and the grit starts early if properly mentored. Can those attributes be learned? Yes but it’s more difficult than when one has it from the get go and it is built as one grows.
Thanks Roger. I just had a conversation on this topic with a leader. The influence of parents is profound. The only way to overcome negative influence is to first notice it and then choose a different path. It’s not easy, but it can be done. I think the beginning of the process can be painful.
Your comment is a great reminder to model the way.
Kind of like when you ask your kids what happened and they answer with “It wasn’t me.” I didn’t ask who it wasn’t I asked what happened. 🙂
Exactly! thanks BMO.
An interesting post worth understanding and work with the purpose with positive steps!
A good leader always has the definite aim/purpose to follow. The same is clearly spelt out by way of A Clear Vision & The Mission. He/She then builds a team to deliver what is required in fulfilling the set purpose. The Positivity by way of Do’s enthuse followers to contribute individually and collectively.
Thanks Dr. Asher. A negative approach has energy at the beginning, but runs out of steam in the long-run. We need positive direction and positive action to sustain our energy.
Pingback: Five Blogs – 16 October 2020 – 5blogs
The do-want methodology makes good sense and was an ah ha moment for me. It’s planning season in my organization. We’re all making our best push and pitch for capital investments for 2021. Thinking about the ‘do-want’ for my organization allows me to think about a future state, not just the next step or natural evolution of a system or process. The do-want pulls the strategy further-along than the next few steps. This has helped me think bigger picture, longer term.